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Question about daycare provided food

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
We are considering switching to a daycare center instead of home based for various reasons. We found one we like & they are even fine with cloth diapers. My one concern is with feeding.

First, DS is 16 months & still nursing. I didn't get any weird reaction about that but they did say they like the kids in the toddler room to be weaned off the bottle. Especially because other kids will want the bottle back. DS takes sippy cups fine so we discussed he would get his breast milk in that & they said they could heat it in the bottle warmer. I don't know if he will take it that way, we'll have to give it a try.

Second, They provide all meals & snacks. This is a kinder care. The food is balanced etc, but there is going to be canned fruit, white bread, etc. They are happy to not give him juice, only water, & have us bring in fresh fruit instead of the canned but they did say again how if he has something different the other kids will want it.

Otherwise I like this place. When discussing with dp we did say at some point we have to let go on the food control because of school /daycare. Is that time now? How important do you think this is?

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post #2 of 14
The way we usually get around hat sort of thing is by being vegan. Food intolerances would probably work as well. In my experience, daycares/preschools don't want to mess with that and are happy to have you pack something else.
post #3 of 14

Hmmm, I didn't let go of food quality issues until much later on in childhood.  Daycares generally serve food just as crappy as public schools.  I packed food for my ds1 when he went to pre-school at age 4.5yrs.  I only stopped packing his lunch this year, as he is now a junior in HS!  LOL  Ds2 is in 4th grade and the only reason I don't pack his lunch anymore is bc this year he started at a crunchy school that is even stricter with nutrition standards than I am.


I would absolutely pack all meals and snacks for a baby as young as yours.  As for the other kids wanting, some...NYP!

post #4 of 14

I would probably just pack all meals. That is a very poor diet for a young toddler.

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks mamas. Dp is going to call & talk to her today & try to get a feel for how they will react to our changes. If necessary we have used child time in the past &I already know they are perfectly happy to substitute & to keep using his bottles. Speaking of, is this a typical age to stop using bottles?

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post #6 of 14


Originally Posted by neonalee View Post

Otherwise I like this place. When discussing with dp we did say at some point we have to let go on the food control because of school /daycare. Is that time now? How important do you think this is?

My dd is almost 8 y.o. and she has been going to the  same gigantic day care center ever since she was 6 months old. Dd still goes to this day care for after school care, and I STILL haven't left go of the control.  I've been packing my dd's food ever since I sent frozen cubes of home made baby food when dd started solids.  (Well, before that, really, because I would send in breastmilk.)  To make things simple for the daycare, I have always packed everything and instructed that all food consumed by dd must come from her lunchbox: all meals and all snacks.  That way, the teachers don't have to play a guessing game about which of their foods are acceptable.


One of the reasons that I am so faithful to this day care is because they always did exactly as I asked, no matter how unusual the request. (And the food request was an unusual one for them.)  Their attitude was that, if the parent wants it that way, well the parent knows what is best for the child and the daycare will do their best to support the parent. How could I not like that?


I do constantly tell the daycare that I do not want to cause the teachers additional work, and try to brainstorm with the daycare ways that I can make their life easier.  I took great pains to acknowledge that the daycare has to take care of many children at once, and I kept asking daycare for feed back about whether certain scenarios were too complicated for them to deal with, and which they felt they could do without any additional work.  Refrigeration or gel pack?  Heat food on site with microwave, or pack hot food in a thermos?


I found that the other children in dd's class never cared about my dd's food, even when it was different from theirs.  If anything, I actually had the reverse problem. For a year, when my dd was a toddler, I had to try to pack food that was similar to the center's food.  If the children were scheduled to eat canned peaches, i'd have to send sliced frozen or sliced fresh peaches, low sodium canned corn instead of regular canned corn, and whole wheat instead of white, for example.  That's because my toddler age dd was picking up the children's canned corn and canned peaches from off the floor and eating it.  (Yuk!)  The problem was only temporary, about one year at most.  By the time my dd was 3 years old, dd told me that I no longer had to make her food similar to the daycare's food.  (Thank goodness, because that simplified matters considerably.)


I think the daycare's issue with the other toddlers wanting the bottle might be reasonable, but I have to admit that I don't actually know for sure because I don't have any direct experience with bottles.  My dd never learned to drink breast milk out of a bottle or a sippy cup.  She has always drunk her breast milk at day care from a regular cup.  I think that after a few months, the daycare didn't even bother to warm the milk, because she was fine with it cold.


I can tell you that I sent breastmilk to the day care until dd weaned at age 3 y.o., with instructions that she should drink only breastmilk and water, and nothing else.  The daycare complied cheerfully. Now, dd just drinks water and no other beverage.


I think if you found a center that is willing to do cloth diapers, it should be easy to figure out a way for them to work out the feeding.  In my experience, the cloth diapers is the harder thing to convince the daycare.  (And yes, my dd's daycare had never done cloth diapers before my dd, but they cheerfully did cloth diapers for my dd, after a expressing a few initial reservations, which we resolved through brainstorming together.)


Edited by emilysmama - 12/1/11 at 11:32am
post #7 of 14

In the childcare centers I have worked in the typical age is one.  Some kids do it at about eight months, this is when my dd switched to sippy cups for breastmilk when I worked, but most do it right after turning one.  Some daycare centers also start teaching kids to use a child size regular cup of water around this age, especially in the summer time when it doesn't matter if they get wet.  I have only worked in one place where they still offered even sippy cups to children after age two.


In one program I was in they required kids to be off and on whole milk by 13 months because the USDA requirement is 13 months for whole milk and that the children get all components served at the scheduled meal time.  They could techniquelly have a bottle of whole milk at the table and still meet that requirement but we didn't have any kids who didn't transition to the sippy cup with ease so it wasn't an issue.


I think that as long as they are willing to give the breastmilk and allow you to bring in your own food you should go with them since those are your only concerns.  Many teachers do frown on things like that and I had a center flat out refuse to let me bring in alternate snacks even when their cooks were violating their healthy food policy.  If the food is your only issue and they are accommodating then I don't think you should let that prevent you from using their care. 

post #8 of 14
Yikes. My mom teaches preschool, and she would not be feeding the kids canned fruit and white bread. If there are crackers or bread, it is whole wheat. Fruit is almost always fresh, like apple or orange slices. If you can, I would pack snacks that you're okay with.
post #9 of 14

I agree with the PP that the other kids in my son's daycare does not care that my DS eats totally different food. He has food allergies, and I send in all his food and drinks and they only give him water and fresh fruit. Other parents of picky kids who don't like the food will send in a lunch occasionally and they all just eat what is served in front of them. Plus some parents say no canned fruit, cookies or whatever. They are 2 y.o. so I'm not sure if older kids would notice and make comments.


With bottles, our daycare starts transitioning out of bottles between 12 and 18 months and by the time you are in the toddler room (18 months and up), they only do sippy or straw cups.

post #10 of 14

Oh, man.  We had DD1 in a Kindercare for 2 months initially (it was down the block from where we lived then).  It was awful and she hated it.  The food was gross and she wouldn't eat it - I happened to be there for lunch one day and I wanted to cry.  The kids took naps with their shoes on, with loud music playing (wtf?), using icky KinderCare blankets.  If your kid cried at dropoff the teachers would just stare at you like it was your problem - no move to take or soothe the child.  No particular attention paid to crying children generally, they just let them slog miserably around the floor.  It was like baby jail.  I still feel guilty for leaving her there those 2 months it took me to realize how bad it was and find something better. :(



post #11 of 14

My son is almost 3 and started daycare a few months ago.  His daycare supplies meals and snacks which aren't what I would feed but are ok.  I have requested he get water instead of juice.  And we don't eat red meat so that means I have to send a replacement for 3 lunches a week (I find it crazy that they have red meat for lunch 3x a week!)  Anyway, he isn't the only one who gets the odd substitution and I really do not think it's an issue with the kids.  My ds has also never complained that he gets water when the others get juice (although other kids are also getting just water).

At 16 months I would definitely have provided all snacks and meals.  But he's almost 3 so I've let it go a bit.  Once he starts jk I'll have to provide all snacks and meals so he'll get healthy mom-approved stuff again :)

post #12 of 14

I can't speak to the food issue, but as for bottles, it is pretty "normal", in that most daycares don't want to deal with bottles past the infant room, and most peds will recommend weaning off the bottle at 12 mos.  A lot of them will also recommend switching to cow's milk at that time (which is just as stupid, IMO).


However, that being said, my 2 yo is still using a bottle (and drinking formula - he won't touch cow's milk).  He never could figure out sippy cups, and can only do a straw cup if it doesn't have a valve.  And even then he has difficulty remembering he doesn't need to tip it up like his bottle.  And I just don't trust him yet with an open cup without direct supervision. 


All that being said, that at 16 mos, you don't need to force wean your LO off the bottle immediately, and his still using the bottle isn't that weird or odd, particularly if he's still BF. 

post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the thoughts & the tips for working with them! Dp hasn't called them yet. My Kitty died last night (we knew it was going to happen) & today I got either mastitis or possibly an abscess! Very bad day.

Anyway, I've heard good & bad things about KC & it seems entirely dependent on the location. We feel good about this one. Not as good as the home daycare we left back in Chicago but we don't live there anymore:(

We took a closer look at the menu & it's pretty disgusting. Lots of refined sugars & carbs. Bleh. If they aren't willing to give him food from home we will look at our next choice.

As for the bottle, he's perfectly happy with a sippy of water & at home I frequently take the top off to help him drink directly from the cup. But he has never had milk other than direct from the breast or in a bottle. Last time he got it cold he was very displeased, though that was awhile ago so it's worth another try. Honestly I'd love to be done washing bottles! This is the first time anyone said they need to wean him off the bottle so I was surprised.

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post #14 of 14

I wouldn't argue about the bottle.  He'll be just fine without it, and in that case i'd take one for the team.  The other kids will want it, and possibly try to take it.


I bet, if you ask again, they will let you pack his lunch.  I don't allow packed lunches in my daycare, but it's purely because 99% of them would bring a bag of chips,  a ziplock full of powdered sugar donuts and a Capri sun.  I had one boy who brought salad or some type of vegie in his lunch... he never once brought something that came from a foil pouch, so I never even questioned what he would bring... I'd say "no way" to everybody else though.  If the school knows WHAT you plan to send (and that it doesn't need to be prepared) I bet they will be fine with it.


Please don't lie to them though.  I've seen so many people suggest the parent lie to the daycare or school.  "He has food allergies" or "He's allergic to disposables"..that I've lost all respect for those claims.  It would take a lot for me to believe that a child actually has an allergy to anything after all the threads I've seen suggesting the parents just lie.



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